Prosperity theology

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Prosperity theology is a religious belief that if the believer is wealthy and in good health, this is always the will of God. It most common among certain groups of Protestant Christians. It is also known as prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith.[A] These groups also believe that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth.[1] Prosperity theology sees the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.[2]

The doctrine says that it is God's will for his people to be blessed. The atonement is interpreted to include the healing of sickness and lessening of poverty. Both are curses that can be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession.

Groups in favor of prosperity theology started in the United States in the 1950s. The origins may go back to a movement callled New Thought, which started in the 19th century. The basic ideas were important for another movement, called Word of Faith. In the 1980s televangelism was sometimes successful because of these ideas. In the 1990s and 2000s, prosperity theology was adopted by influential leaders in the Pentecostal Movement and Charismatic Movement in the United States and has spread throughout the world. Prominent leaders in the development of prosperity theology include E. W. Kenyon,[3] Oral Roberts,[4] A. A. Allen,[5] Robert Tilton,[5] T. L. Osborn,[6] Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar,[8] Kenneth Copeland,[4] Reverend Ike,[6] and Kenneth Hagin.[7]

Leaders from other Christian novements have critiziced prosperity theology: They say that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture. Secular as well as some Christian observers have also criticized prosperity theology: They say it exploits the poor. The practices of some preachers have attracted scandal and some have been charged with financial fraud.

Notable works in favor of prosperity theology[change | change source]

Notable works that advocate prosperity theology include:[8][8][6]

  • Hill, Edward (2019). Prosperous Christian: 10 Commandments of Godly Prosperity. Pensacola: Best Seller Publishing. ISBN 978-1-949535-38-9.
  • Lindsay, Gordon (1960). God's Master Key to Prosperity. Dallas: Christ for the Nations Institute. ISBN 978-0-89985-001-6.
  • Osteen, Joel (2004). Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. New York: FaithWords. ISBN 978-0-446-53275-4.
  • Roberts, Oral; Montgomery, G. H. (1966). God's Formula for Success and Prosperity. Tulsa: Abundant Life Publication. OCLC 4654539.
  • Wilkinson, Bruce; Kopp, David (2000). The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books. ISBN 978-1-57673-733-0.
  • Ziglar, Zig (1975). See You at the Top. Gretna, La.: Pelican Pub. Co. ISBN 0-88289-126-X.
  • Ziglar, Zig (2006). Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can't Wait to Live. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7852-8919-7.
  • Ziglar, Zig; Ziglar, Tom (2012). Born to Win: Find Your Success Code. Dallas: SUCCESS Media. ISBN 9780983156512.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. ^ Pejorative nicknames have been attached to the theology, including "name it and claim it" and "blab it and grab it".[9]
  2. ^ The theme of Abundant life sometimes is used by leaders associated with the Word of Faith movement to refer to the experience of congregants who corporately experience the results of faith.[10]
  3. ^ Bakker renounced prosperity theology after being imprisoned for fraud.[11]
  4. ^ Osteen's teachings are often described as a moderate form of prosperity theology.[12]
  5. ^ After the probe was opened, Joyce Meyer Ministries voluntarily joined the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.[13]
  6. ^ The Council notes that the words Rhema and Logos are used interchangeably in the New Testament, and a Hebrew word is rendered into both words in different passages of the Septuagint.[14]
  7. ^ Prosperity theology is often seen as supporting laissez-faire economics.[15]

References[change | change source]

  1. Wilson 2007.
  2. Walton 2009.
  3. Bowler 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Coleman 2000.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robins 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Harrell 1975.
  7. Brown 2011.
  8. Jenkins 2006.
  9. Garber, Kent (February 15, 2008). "Behind the Prosperity Gospel". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  10. Brown 2011, p. 165.
  11. Balmer 2002, p. 44.
  12. Chu, Jeff; van Biema, David (September 10, 2006). "Does God Want You To Be Rich?". Time. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  13. Poole, Shelia (January 7, 2011). "New Panel Formed to Examine Issues Around Church Finances". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  14. General Council of the Assemblies of God 1980, pp. 8–9.
  15. Jenkins 2006, p. 93.

Bibliography[change | change source]